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Author-illustrator Jonny Sun will give Kenneth A. Spencer Lecture

Monday, September 09, 2019

LAWRENCE — Author, illustrator and researcher Jonny Sun, notable for his humorous and interpersonal works, will deliver the 2019 Kenneth A. Spencer Lecture.

Sun will speak at 7 p.m. Sept. 25 at Liberty Hall. His presentation, hosted by The Commons at the University of Kansas, will feature a talk and on-stage interview with Yvonnes Chen, associate professor of journalism. Sun will sign books after the event.

Sun is the author and illustrator of “everyone’s a aliebn when ur a aliebn too” (HarperPerennial, 2017) and the New York Times best-selling illustrator of “Gmorning, Gnight!” by Lin-Manuel Miranda (Penguin Random House, 2018). He is currently a writer for the Netflix original series “BoJack Horseman” and is writing a movie for 20th Century Fox called “Paper Lanterns.”

Tweeting as @jonnysun, he was named one of Time magazine's 25 Most Influential People on the Internet of 2017. As a doctoral candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a creative researcher at the Harvard University metaLAB, he studies social media, virtual place and online community. He is the creator of @tinycarebot and the co-creator of the MIT Humor Series. He earned an architectural degree from Yale University and an engineering degree at the University of Toronto.

Sun’s plays have been performed at the Yale School of Drama, Factory Theatre in Toronto, Hart House Theatre and Theatre Lab in Toronto, and his artwork has been shown at the Wing Luke Museum in Seattle, the Harvard art galleries, MIT, the Yale School of Architecture, New Haven ArtSpace and the University of Toronto. His latest art installation, “The Laughing Room,” was on exhibition at MIT in 2018 and TED in 2019.

His comedic work has appeared in The New Yorker, Time magazine, BuzzFeed, Playboy, GQ and McSweeney’s. He has been profiled on NPR and in The New York Times, was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 Class of 2019 and is a 2019 TED Talks speaker.

The Kenneth A. Spencer Lecture is hosted annually by The Commons to invite seminal figures whose work applies across disciplines to address the KU and regional communities. In recent years, the lecture series has featured architectural biologist Jessica Green, comedian Andy Borowitz, writer/activist Margaret Atwood, writer/historian Rebecca Solnit, poet/scholar/artist Eve L. Ewing and activist/writer Jose Antonio Vargas.

Tickets are required and may be obtained via thecommons.ku.edu or Liberty Hall. The event is free and open to the public. Books will be available for sale onsite by the Raven Bookstore.

Anyone needing special accommodations may contact The Commons staff for assistance.

Photo credit: Rozette Rago.


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